Free Webinar: The "Pretty Good House," A Student Built Net Zero House in Taylorville, Illinois, June 26, 12 - 1 pm ET

  • 26 June 2024
  • Start time : 12:00 PM
  • End time : 01:00 PM
  • Event Host : GreenHome Institute
The "Pretty Good House," A Student Built Net Zero House in Taylorville, Illinois
Event Description

THS students are building a net zero, "Pretty Good House" (PGH) in central Illinois. The home, based on Mottram Architecture's 1600sqft "Freeport Net Zero" design, is being built on the PGH philosophy of integrating economics with building envelope materials and building mechanicals choices. The result is a healthy, high performance, sustainable home that is more cost effective than today's standard construction based on life cycle cost and monthly financing. We will discuss the THS PGH net zero home and examine its economics (life cycle cost), financial (monthly) cost, health (IAQ) performance, energy performance, and comfort conditioning requirements ("design day" heating/cooling/dehumidification).


A difficulty for PGH adherents is integration design factors into a single design tool. ZEROs (Zero Energy Residential Optimization software), is free-to-use, online software that provides a convenient platform for investigating a home design's complex interrelationships among health, comfort and cost, Manual J (zone comfort conditioning analyses), Manual D (duct design for IAQ and comfort management), and Manual S (mechanical system HVAC design) analyses are included in our discussions. As we follow Matt's students' monthly progress from foundation to finish, and examine the net zero PGH's economics and energy performance, we'll discuss requirements for a healthy home (hint: it's not ASHRAE 62.2), how to design economically optimized (and quiet) duct work guided by a single parameter, learn how oversizing (yes, oversizing!) heating and cooling equipment capacity can increase efficiency (yes, increase efficiency!), and discuss why many of today's high performance homes should incorporate dehumidification (hint: those dang yellow tags are part of the reason).

Bonus: We may hear from one of the students and their experience. 

Lessons Learned
1) be able to define requirements for maintaining healthy indoor environments

2) understand why a high performance PGH is more economical than conventional construction

3) be able to design cost effective, quiet duct work for distribution of ventilation and comfort conditioning air

4) understand the use of an easy-to-use computer model for determining residential economics, finance, energy, ventilation and comfort conditioning 5) be able to describe a robust, smart, and efficient IAQ and comfort conditioning system configuration

  • Host Company/Organization Name
    • GreenHome Institute
  • Speakers / Presenters
    • Matt Blomquist's Taylorville High School Building Trades Instructor

      "After college I jumped back in the residential carpentry world as an employee and eventually as a co-owner of a construction company. This eventually led me to teaching the Construction Occupations program at a local prison for Lake Land College. After 4 years I went back to my old high school and took over the Building Trades Instructor position and in 2019 we relaunched the student house building program. We've been building student built high performance houses ever since."

      Ty is a co-owner and co-founder of Build Equinox, a company devoted to inventing technologies for healthy, comfortable and sustainable living. He retired from the University of Illinois in 2007 as an Assistant Dean in the College of Engineering, having advised 70 masters and doctoral graduate students, and is an emeritus professor of mechanical engineering. Ty has lectured around the world on indoor air quality, comfort, solar energy, building energy efficiency, and resource conservation
  • Cost
    • FREE Event
  • Event type
    • Online/Webinar

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